COVID-19 and palliative care: Scale up provision in every country – especially in primary care
The Covid-19 pandemic is causing distressing deaths in terrible social isolation to tens of thousands. There is a compelling case to scale up palliative care to help people live and die as well as humanly possible. As palliative care enthusiasts, we must speak out now so that our countries, and practices, can grasp this moment in history.
Open meeting of the EAPC Primary Palliative Care Reference Group at the EAPC 11th World Congress held virtually 8-9th October
Palliative care still only reaches a minority of potential beneficiaries and is often introduced too late to prevent much distress. People with multi-morbidities and non-malignant conditions, frailty and dementia are still less likely to receive any form of palliative care than those with cancer. To gain universal coverage, a coordinated primary care and public health approach is necessary. Our vision is that palliative care is fully integrated in primary care systems internationally so that all patients have early access to a palliative care approach in the community (in their own home and in residential care facilities).
Aims & Objectives
- Promote integration of primary care as an essential element of national palliative care frameworks, and palliative care as an essential element of national primary care frameworks.
- Foster training and educational development in timely palliative care for all primary care health professionals, at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
- Advocate that primary care practitioners providing palliative care have adequate resources and professional support to encourage safe and effective practice, and to promote health equity for people with life-threatening illnesses.
- Provide collegiate support to primary care practitioners as they develop evidence- based approaches to high quality primary palliative care.
- Support and develop research opportunities in primary palliative care – across EU countries.
- Identify mechanisms to support primary palliative care in all countries, with a specific focus on lower and middle income countries.
How can I contribute?
If you are passionate about improving palliative care in the community in your country, please contact our co-ordinator Deirdre.Shanagher@hospicefoundation.ie to register as a member of the wider group.
We are also specifically looking for national representatives from every country in Europe, and currently lack these in the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine.
If you are willing to consider taking on this role please contact Sebastien Moine.
Years 1 and 2 - 2017 - 2018
- Encourage and support Palliative Care and Primary Care leaders in Europe
- Identify core competencies in education and training for primary care professionals
- Promote activities/sessions on primary palliative care in all EAPC sponsored conferences and primary care conferences
- Participate in the WHO Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to input into manuals to help operationalise palliative care in the community.
- In European countries not involved in the previous Taskforce, identify and support one or more key professional leaders to scope the barriers/facilitators
- Produce an updated/ expanded toolkit to enhance 1) timely identification, 2) assessment, 3) care planning, 4) evaluation in primary care
- Start international, collaborative small-scale research and student exchange projects including publication of reviews of European developments
Year 3 - 2019
Continue identification of and partnership with primary palliative care champions throughout Europe
Develop collaboration with organisations and countries outside Europe to help develop primary palliative care
Year 4 - 2020
Publish a white paper on promoting primary palliative care in all countries
Submission of an EU research or quality improvement proposal.
A close liaison with a variety of International organisations will be maintained:
- EAPC Board of Directors
- EAPC Reference Group on Public Health and Palliative Care
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- International Children’s palliative Care Network (ICPCN)
- International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC)
- World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA)
- International Primary Palliative Care Network (IPPCN)
- European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC)
- European research networks and other national and academic bodies
Global policy documents:
EAPC Blog Posted on April 7, 2017 Palliative care from diagnosis to death
EAPC Blog Paosted on April 23, 2019 Strictly Come Dying: Will it be a fast dance or a slow waltz?
Munday D, Boyd K, Jeba J, et al. Defining primary palliative care for universal health
coverage. Lancet 2019; 394: 621–622 (doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31830-6)
Banks I, Weller D, Ungan M, et al. ECCO Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care: Primary care. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2019; 142: 187–199 (doi: 10.1016/J.CRITREVONC.2019.07.007)
Murray SA, Mitchell S, Boyd K, et al. Palliative care: training the primary care workforce is more important than rebranding. BMJ 2019; 365: l4119 (doi: 10.1136/bmj.l4119)
Mitchell S, Tan A, Moine S, et al. Primary palliative care needs urgent attention. BMJ 2019; 365: l1827 (doi: 10.1136/BMJ.L1827)
Pettus K, Moine S, Kunirova G, et al. Palliative Care Comes of Age in the 2018 Declaration of Astana. J Palliat Med 2019; 22: 242–242 (doi: 10.1089/jpm.2018.0615)
EAPC Berlin, 2019